After a gun extremist group held an armed rally in the parking lot of a Target store in Texas last weekend and new photos have come to light of open carry demonstrations at Target, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is today announcing the start of #OffTarget Weekends. This weekend and every weekend until Target responds to Moms’ petition asking Target Corp. CEO John Mulligan to prohibit the open carry of guns in its stores, Moms will shop at stores with better gun policies. The petition has now been signed by more than 300,000 people.
“When moms go shopping, we have a choice about where to go – and this weekend we are going to shop at businesses that stand up for the safety and security of our families,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Instead of shopping at Target this weekend – as moms often do – we are going to use the power of our purses and shop at businesses with gun sense instead. As mothers and supporters of the Second Amendment, we are asking Target, one of our country’s largest retailers – where moms and women make up nearly 90 percent of Target shoppers – to follow the lead of Chipotle and Starbucks and prohibit the open carry of firearms. Moms demand to feel safe when shopping with our families at Target.”
Moms will take photos of themselves while shopping at companies with gun sense and post them to social media with the hashtag #OffTarget. Some businesses with policies against open carry that Moms will be shopping at this weekend instead include Amazon (prohibits private gun sales on its platform), Costco, Toys R Us, Babies R Us, Food Lion, IKEA and Whole Foods. In a previous Moms campaign against Starbucks, Moms employed the same strategy and chose to buy coffee elsewhere on Saturdays (#SkipStarbucks) that resulted in the company’s announcement that guns are not welcome in its stores.
The laws in a majority of states allow people to openly carry loaded rifles in public with absolutely no training, permitting, or minimum age requirement. Combined with estimates that 40 percent of gun sales occur without a background check in the U.S., this means that people in most states can legally carry loaded rifles in public without ever having passed a criminal background check. Moms Demand Action believes that businesses have a duty to protect their employees and patrons – especially in states where no background checks or training are required to buy semi-automatic rifles and carry them openly in public.
Gun extremists have held similar demonstrations at other businesses and Moms petitions have led a number of companies to take swift action to stand with Moms and enforce or adopt policies that prohibit open carry to protect the safety of their employees and customers. Recently Sonic and Brinker International, which includes Chili’s Grill & Bar, prohibited the open carry of guns in their restaurants. Chipotle also quickly responded to a Moms’ petition by asking customers to leave their guns at home, “because the display of firearms in our restaurants has now created an environment that is potentially intimidating or uncomfortable for many of our customers.” Last month Jack in the Box responded to the Moms’ petition by announcing that it would enforce a prohibition of guns in its stores, stating that, “the presence of guns inside a restaurant could create an uncomfortable situation for our guests and employees and lead to unintended consequences.”